Apprenticeships praised for bringing a new dimension to commercial property recruitment

(Left to right) Jo Edwards, head of the South West and Wales office of Colliers International, and apprentice building surveyor Eleanor Osborn.

Apprenticeships have been praised for bringing a new dimension to commercial property recruitment by the head of Colliers International in the South West and Wales.

Jo Edwards said: “We recently welcomed our first apprentice to the team here in Bristol, and we’re pleased to be playing our part in changing the perception that there is only one route into a career in commercial property.”

Ms Edwards added that National Apprenticeship Week 2020 – which runs from February 3 to February 9 – was providing a vital showcase for the range of apprenticeship opportunities available to students

“Previously, entry level candidates at Colliers were graduates with a property degree or masters, but nowadays A-level students can instead choose to become apprentices and study for a degree in property,” she said.

“It means they can earn while learning and will graduate without a huge student loan debt. However, many students, schools and parents are unaware this is an option, especially when it comes to a degree in property, so campaigns such as National Apprenticeship Week 2020 are vital for raising awareness about how apprenticeships are now available for professions such as real estate.”

The South West and Wales office of Colliers International took on Eleanor Osborn, 18, as an apprentice building surveyor after she completed her A-level studies at St. Laurence School in Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire.

She is the first apprentice to be employed at the South West and Wales office and is one of 13 surveying apprentices currently employed at Colliers as part of the global real estate company’s Emerging Talent Programme. In addition, Colliers has a marketing apprentice, a human resources apprentice, and an apprentice data analyst will be enrolling soon.

Eleanor, who will learn on the job while studying for a BSc Hons in Building Surveying through the University College of Estate Management, said: “I knew that I wanted to work in property and had started looking at university courses in property on the UCAS website.

“Then I discovered it was possible to do an apprenticeship and study for a property degree at the same time, and I saw there was building surveyor apprenticeship at the Bristol office of Colliers International and decided to apply.

“When I got offered the apprenticeship then as far as I was concerned university was no longer an option, even though I got the grades to do a building surveying degree at Reading University.

“Some people such as my grandparents initially found it difficult to understand why I’d decided to do an apprenticeship, but they were fine once they understood that I would still get a degree but would also be learning on the job.

“I feel I’ve gained much knowledge by working with the team in the office and going out on site to real projects, as well as doing the academic course modules with online tutors who have explained things very well and provided useful action points.”

Eleanor added that she did not feel she had missed out on university life by going straight into work as an apprentice.

“Although I don’t have the university social life, that hasn’t been a problem as something I hadn’t anticipated is the amount of socialising that is part of working in commercial property!” she said.